What does the future of work mean for Global Mobility?

Deloitte Advokatfirma

The way we work has slowly but surely been shifting towards a more dynamic and fluid way of working, and the global pandemic that will no doubt mark the year 2020 has accelerated the development of these trends significantly. This has an impact on organizations as whole, but what does this mean for Global Mobility?

We have identified three trends that will impact the future of Global Mobility, and that may provoke a change in the organization’s global mobility strategy.

1. Designing work for the well-being

Deloitte’s 2020 Human Capital Trends shows that well-being is a top priority for organizations today, largely because of the popular belief that it supports organizational performance. It is therefore on the agenda to restructure work in ways that help employees to feel and perform their best.

One outcome of the global pandemic is that it forced a majority of people to work from home, and organizations have seen unexpected benefits from this, like increased meeting attendance and manager support for employees, while also boosting employee productivity and happiness. The Fortune 500 CEO survey on how America’s biggest companies are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, shows that one of the single most important things that the crisis has taught them is “working from home works”.

What does this mean for Global Mobility?

Deloitte’s Mobility Building Blocks encourages an initial alignment between business objectives and talent strategy, before changing the global mobility program enablers, such as policy, technology, vendors, etc.

If organizations are embracing a more flexible and virtual way of working in the name of employee well-being, they may consider shifting certain cross-border work to virtual assignments where possible, avoiding the stress associated with uprooting the employee and his/her entire family to a new location. This calls for an alignment of the business’ objectives and the company’s talent strategy. Once the employee experience is identified as a business priority, it should also be reflected in the global mobility strategy. The mobility function can then begin to design a policy for virtual assignments based on a specific workforce segmentation and the needs of that segment.

2. Investing in the capabilities of the workforce for uncertain futures

Organizations are struggling to navigate the fast-changing skills landscape. In the 2020 Human Capital Trends survey, 53% of respondents said that between half and all of their workforce will need to change their skills and capabilities in the next three years. Business success does not rely only on precise standardized skills but rather depends increasingly on innovation, entrepreneurship, and other forms of creativity that rely not just on skills, but also on less quantifiable capabilities such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and collaboration.

Employees are also aware of the need to keep their skills and capabilities up to date and look to their employers for support. It is therefore advisable for organizations to look ahead to identify the skills that the business will need in the future. This requires envisioning future roles and tasks and identifying the skills needed to execute these roles through an analysis of expected business and talent trends (such as for example the growth of the digital business).

What does this mean for Global Mobility?

HR and mobility functions have the opportunity to design a global mobility strategy that supports the development of the identified skills that the organization needs, through a segmentation of the workforce and identifying the different needs of each segment, both from an individual development and business need perspective.

3. Reduction in business travel and an increase in virtual employment

When the Fortune 500 CEO’s were asked “when will business travel at your company return to the levels it was before the pandemic?”, 51,1% answered that they “never” expect it to return to the same levels as before the pandemic. Similarly, when asked when at least 90% of the workforce will have returned to their usual workplace, the majority also answered “never”.

This indicates quite a clear trend that the future of work will drastically change post-pandemic. Our Nordic Survey on how companies are managing the corona crisis also showed that a majority of companies foresee an increase in virtual employment.

What does this mean for Global Mobility?

Business travel will continue to be an important element of business as usual and we do not foresee this type of travel to disappear completely. However, the global pandemic has taught us that a lot of meetings can be replaced by a Teams meeting, reducing costs and carbon footprints.

HR and Mobility Managers can take this opportunity to review or design business traveler policies to regulate this type of travel and the compliance obligations that surround this. Limiting business travel to essential types of travel can be a cost-saving opportunity.

Furthermore, virtual employment/assignments can open up to a myriad of compliance obligations, both for the individual and the organization, even if the employee is not physically working in another location. Having a clear communication plan around the limits of working from home, and a strong policy that regulates virtual assignments is essential to ensure compliance.

Global Workforce Transformation

As the workforce changes, disrupting both structures and ways of working, our Global Workforce team can help you plan ahead and ensure that Global Mobility is aligned to these changes.

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